May 23, 2019

The Very Basics of DIY Outdoor Christmas Lights


 Lighting the Trees–

 xmas house

Probably most everyone would agree that Christmas lighting for the trees in your yard and adjacent parkway (if you have one) is a terrific idea.  But if you’ve never done this before, just how as a “newbie” do you execute this task?  Although it looks quite foolproof, as if anyone could do it, it’s helpful to have some tried and true tips.  First of all come up with a plan for what you would like the outdoor tree lights to look like.  Then if you will be decorating coniferous trees (those are the pine) select C7 and C9 Christmas light strings.  These bulbs are the old standard light bulbs that come in colors.  The C7 are the smaller ones and the C9 are the larger ones.  Unless the tree is very small, consider using the larger bulbs for a brighter tree with more visual appeal.

 For deciduous trees (those are the ones that have lost their leaves for winter), we recommend mini Christmas lights.  These are the little white Christmas lights that you’ve probably seen around on trees for years.  In fact, they are so popular they are used on many trees year round.  Among the notable establishments to use them is at New York’s Central Park eatery, Tavern on the Green. 

These little white lights lend themselves to the slender branches of this type of tree.  Yet other good choices for a deciduous tree are variations on the theme of little white lights.  Consider icicle lights, the cascading droplets of white lights.  These can also be purchased in various colors, such a green, purple, pink and blue holiday lights.  Various other icons are available in the icicle format.  We’ve seen plenty of stars and snowflakes, and sometimes even more unusual choices like candy canes, Santas and candles.


Lighting the House–

When it comes to lighting your house, any of the above mentioned bulbs can be used successfully.  In order to hang them from gutters or around eaves and windows, you might want to consider purchasing some holiday lighting clips which will make the whole process easier.

 Lighting Everything Else–Some other products you might consider trying are net lights and rope lights.  Net lights have bulbs which are attached to a net which you simply drape over a bush.  The benefit of a net is a nice uniform distribution of lights with a minimum of hassle.  Rope lights consist of a string of holiday lights encased in a plastic tube.  These work well for decorating fences, windows, stair railings and doorways.  Available in “always on” or pre-set blinking  patterns, rope lights are typically sold by the foot.  Spotlights are yet another commonly used light for Christmas decorating.  They are used to draw attention to a particular area of interest in the yard.  Trees, wreaths, doors, windows and interesting displays in the yard are often highlighted by using spots.  Another favorite of ours is to use spots for uplighting trees.  With this technique the light is placed on the ground a distance in front of the tree and pointed slightly upward. This method allows one to create a dynamic effect against the wintry, night sky.

As you plan for the holiday tap into these simply ideas and be ready with your creativity.  You’re sure to come up with some eye-popping holiday designs to spruce up the yard around your home.

A History of Christmas Tree Light

First Christmas Tree Lights

A History of Christmas Tree LightYou may not be able to remember a time without Christmas tree light, but interestingly enough this tradition does not date from time immemorial.  While the lighting of fires and candles has a long history in the practice of many of the world’s religions, the practice of using light to adorn trees dates only to the middle of the 17th century.  A custom arising in what is now Germany, the lighting of trees was accomplished by attaching candles to trees with pins or wax.  For this reason, trees were rarely put up and surely not lit before Christmas Eve.

The practice of lighting tree with candles started to be seen in the US starting in the 1850’s as German immigrants brought the practice with them.  Shortly thereafter, Queen Victoria the arbiter of great style began lighting a tree, where upon the US White House followed suit.

First Christmas Light Bulbs

It was not until 18882 though that a tree was lit with electric Christmas light bulbs.  Edward Johnson, an associate of Thomas Edison is crediting as being the first to use electricity for Christmas tree lighting.  He hand wired 80 red, white and blue holiday lights and placed them on a rotating pine tree. Thirteen years later Grover Cleveland chose to have the nation’s tree lit with electricity causing a stir and resulting in retailers following suit.

An expensive endeavor at the turn of the century, a lit Christmas tree could cost a small fortune and thus was reserved only for the wealthy and their showy parties.  Preparing a tree required a wireman to light it and the installation of a generator. By the end of the first decade of the 1900’s the concept had evolved to include screw-in bulbs, a wall socket plug and also a system that relied on telephone switchboard lights and a battery.

Big Business Takes on Christmas Tree Lighting

vintage xmas lights give your home a unique lookIn 1915 in answer to a tragic Christmas tree candle fire, Albert Sadacca came up with the idea of manufacturing electric lights on a string.  Eventually Sadacca’s idea evolved into the NOMA Electric Company which until 1965 was the largest Christmas lighting company in the world.  Following Sadacca’s path various companies sprang up offering a dazzling array of bulbs, just a few of which are pictured here.

So as you prepare for the Christmas holidays this year, take solace in knowing that the practice of Christmas tree lighting is a fairly recent one–one that you should not stress out over too much.
Simply use the lights you have on hand, pick up some of the new LED Christmas bulbs or hire yourself a Christmas lights professional.

Have yourself a bright and merry holiday! A History of Christmas Tree Light 3

Decorating With Color: Christmas Light Decorations

Encourage Environmentally-Friendly Green Christmas Lighting

decorating with color christmas light decorationsSince green is the hot color these days, why not try decorating with green Christmas lighting this holiday season.  Green Christmas lighting is a great choice for both indoor and outdoor Christmas light decorations.  Using all-green Christmas lighting indoors can give one an almost tropical feel with mass quantities of green Christmas lighting strategically placed throughout the work/living space.  Green is associated with ecology and renewal.  With everything colored green, it will begin to feel like a fresh tropical forest indoors.  While monochromatic white or multi-colored bulbs are popular outdoor Christmas light decorations, an environmentally friendly statement can be made by designing an outdoor theme around all green Christmas lighting.  Of course, this would have to be a mass display of green Christmas lighting covering house, shrubbery, walkways, hanging tree ornaments, etc.  Your neighbors will be green with envy and they may even be motivated to make their own green Christmas lighting statement.

Feel Blue No More with Blue Holiday Lights

decorating with color christmas light decorations 1One way to rid those holiday blues is with the use of blue holiday lights.  Add sparkle and pizzazz to your world with all-blue holiday lights.  One beautiful application of blue holiday lights is to set a mood for nativity scenes of peaceful remembrance that looks especially elegant in northern snowy climates.  Blue is a symbol of Mary and the Advent within Christian beliefs making blue holiday lights a good choice to accent and highlight a nativity scene.  If peace and harmony are your goal, use blue holiday lights.  They’re not just for blue-bloods.

Fire-up the Holiday with Orange Christmas lights

decorating with color christmas light decorations 2Orange has found a way to go beyond the Halloween displays in October and survive all the way to December as Christmas light decorations.  This unexpected fire-burst of color will keep one alert with anticipation of the season.  Orange Christmas lights, representing adventure, excitement, and interest, are appealing to all people who enjoy Christmas light decorations.  With their intense bright warm color, orange Christmas lights are a perfect decorating accent.  A strand of orange Christmas lights and an orange candle placed in a large glass hurricane make a beautiful table-top accent piece.  Get out the orange Christmas lights in October and keep them out right through the holiday season.